Buy tickets here for the Red Sox series next Friday, Saturday, and Sunday @ The Trop before they are gone! Friday night, the first 10,000 fans get this Matt Garza collectible t-shirt!
As I had hoped, the Rays managed to find a way to split the series with the Athletics in Oakland, which also gives the Rays the season-series win. Coming in to Sunday’s game the Rays were tied for the season-series with the A’s, a team that has given the Rays a lot of trouble in Oakland over the years. So, it seemed very appropriate, for some kind of possible redemption value at least, that they would be facing Dallas Braden. Dallas Braden, of course, is the Athletics starter that hurled the perfect game against the Rays back on May 9th of this year.
So when, in the top of the third inning, the leadoff batter Sean Rodriguez hit a bullet past a diving Oakland third baseman Kevin Kouzmanoff in to left field, I think Rays fans everywhere breathed a sigh of relief! Then then very next batter Kelly Shoppach doubled in Sean Rodriguez to put the Rays on the board first…1-0 Rays. Things were kind of uneventful until the bottom of the fifth when after one out Garza gave up a single and a walk and then Sean Rodriguez’s error on a potential double play ball found the Rays facing a bases loaded with one out situation. On an 0-2 count on Coco Crisp, umpire James Hoye called a Balk on Garza, which brought the tying run across the plate! Nobody (except for James Hoye) is sure exactly what happened. Something about Garza moved after he was set or his shoulder twitched or something like that. I don’t know. Garza said he was shrugging off a pitch. Either way, all season long the umpires have made it very clear that they are going to do whatever they can to make it difficult for the Rays to enter the postseason or the World Series for that matter. Bud Selig and the umpires have their heads so far up the Yankees, Red Sox, Dodgers, and Phillies asses its pathetic. Tampa Bay just isn’t a big enough market yet. Think about all the viewership and the merchandise that would be sold if the World Series every year was the Yankees vs. Dodgers, or the Red Sox vs. Phillies. No problem, they can continue their campaign against the Rays, but the Rays will continue to fight back day after day night after night. All you bandwagon Guido Yankees fans can continue to remind me of the Yankees 27 championships (or RINGS, as you Jersey Shore knuckleheads like to refer to them as). I will laugh to myself because I know you don’t know the first thing about baseball, you just like the gear because you think it’s a fashion statement and you come to the Trop to get drunk and start a fight.
Wow…kind of went off on a little tangent there. Anyway, back to the game, after a few words with umpire James Hoye, Garza returned to the mound and collected himself. Coco Crisp hit a rocket on the very next pitch towards first base, but because the Rays have Carlos Pena playing first base and not someone like…ohh I don’t know…Lance Berkman or Mark Teixeira, an exceptional defensive play was made and the out was recorded. Then, after falling behind the next batter, Daric Barton, Garza managed to come back and strike him out to end the inning. The next inning , Evan Longoria doubled in two runs, putting the Rays up 3-1. Fast forward all the way to 2 outs in the bottom of the 9th inning. I’ll make this short and sweet…the home-plate umpire dropped the ball again (not literally…well, kind of), allowing the Athletics to score making it 3-2. But, because the Rays are resilient, Soriano struck out Chad Pennington for the final out of the game. The Rays 76th win of the season and Soriano’s 37th save, which leads the American League.
The Rays are now 76-48 on the season, which is one full game behind the Yankees for the lead of the American League East Division, and leads the Red Sox by 5 1/2 for the Wild Card spot. The Rays roll in to Anaheim tonight to face the Angels with 38 games left to play on the season. The Rays will face the Angels in a three game series, and then they head home to fight it out with the Red Sox and then the Blue Jays. The Angels have been struggling lately, so hopefully the Rays can continue their forward momentum and pick up some ground on the Yankees. Go Rays!
Please tell me this isn’t true! I don’t have enough time to list all of the reasons that this is not the right move for the Tampa Bay Rays!
Staying up to watch a west coast game is hard enough, but when the Rays lose in late innings by one run…going to sleep is exponentially harder. Check out this blurb, in which all of the blame for the loss last night is attributed to Ben Zobrist’s error @ 2nd base and questions Joe Maddon’s math. While I agree that as a direct result of the error, the Athletics were able to score the go ahead run and ultimately win the game 5-4, but I totally disagree with putting all of the blame on this one play (or lack of play). The Rays came out pretty hot in the first couple of innings, only to be shutdown for most of the rest of the game. Once again, the offense really struggled. Jeremy Hellickson pitched another great game, the defense overall was phenomenal once again, and the running game was unparalleled as usual. Therefore, blaming Ben Zobrist’s is a real stretch as far as I am concerned. Give the guy a break, he plays all over the field (very well I should add), switch-hits, and although his hitting has struggled a little bit this year, he still has an On-Base Percentage of .367, with 22 stolen bases! As far as Joe Maddon’s math is concerned, he is making a point that this half-wit obviously doesn’t understand. What he is saying is that Ben makes plays like that all the time and that it is rare for him to miss it! Jack-ass…Go back to New York.
Anyway, I think the Rays will be able to put it together tonight with Price on the mound and the offense back in check. If they can split this series with Oakland and then go in to Anaheim and win that series against the Angels, they can come home on a positive note ready for the Red Sux! Go Rays!
The Rays are in Oakland tonight for the first game of a four game series against the Oakland Athletics. From there its south to LA for a 3 game series against the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim. The Rays don’t have the best track record on the west coast…we all remember what happened the last time the Rays were in Oakland! That’s right…they were at the wrong end of a perfect game! The SECOND perfect game in less than a calendar year! That being said, I’m sure there is a little bit of overall anxiety, or maybe that’s just me. Nothing like staying up to watch a west coast game when you are on the east coast, especially when the Rays lose and then you get to go to bed @ 1 am pissed off.
Anyway, let’s recap the home stand. The Rays went 5-1 on their most recent home stand taking 2 of 3 from Baltimore and sweeping the Rangers (in a BIG way). The first game against Baltimore was a little rough, losing 5-0 surely wasn’t the right way to start things off. Especially coming off of a bad road-trip in which, at times the offense was totally non-existent. It was nice to see the Rays hitting the ball and driving in runs. We all know that they are capable of driving in a lot of runs. It’s almost as though they are such a cohesive group of players that when there is a lot of offense, there is a LOT of offense, and when there is none…I mean there is NONE.
I think the highlights of the home stand were Longoria making good contact and driving in runs, BJ Upton being productive again, and of course the exceptional defense and running game that the Rays are known for. Of couse, the pitching all year has been pretty damn good. All of these things combined are definitely a formula for success…enough to win the World Series? I think so, but we still have quite a bit of baseball to play. Let’s hope that the slumps are behind us and we can push forward to the ultimate goal of the 2010 season, which is to win the World Series!